An Interview with: Ghoulavelii
A native of Seattle, Ghoulavelii has been making a name for himself and for his city. This year Ghoulavelii has been featured on No Jumper twice as well as signed to Alamo Records, home to musicians such as SmokePurpp and Comethazine. Now considered a rapper, Ghoul originally played guitar in metal and punks bands. After a couple of his freestyles began to pick up traction on Tumblr, he dropped the guitar and picked up the mic. His first project “Horchata&Hennessy” started immediately buzzing and since then Ghoul has worked with artists such as Slug Christ and Comethazine. Next year is bound to be a big year for the young talent.
Hey man, I’m glad to conduct this interview, I thought we would start by you introducing yourself, where are you from and how old are you?
What’s good I’m Ghoulavelii , born in Baltimore but really grew up runnin round Seattle . I’m 21 yrs old .
What was it like growing up in Seattle?
Growing up in Seattle, I was movin around a lot . I mainly stayed in Tacoma (30min south of Seattle), that’s where I met all my friends and where I started making music . I grew up on some Punk shit . I played in hella bands growing up, went on tour a couple times . I went to Art school my sophomore year of high school but I dropped out junior year . That’s when I stopped going to punk shows n started rappin . My dad was a DJ and a producer so the music was always around me . It was only a matter of time
You played in a band, were you a singer? In art school, what type of art were you studying? What was the school environment like?
Nah, I played guitar in a few of em . Played drums in a couple others. I always wanted to be a frontman for a band but it never happened, haha . I went to Art school for Audio Recording/Engineering or whatever . The environment was krazy . It was in the middle of the city in downtown . Open campus . So during passing periods and lunch, niggas were doing whatever the fuck they wanted to do . Taking bitches to the rooftops, having sex poppin pills . All type shit forreal . It was insanity .
Seems like a stimulating environment, so what during this time made you want to pursue rap instead of punk bands? Also you mentioned you dropped out junior year - what prompted you to leave?
It truly was hyper stimulating. Shit, I wanted to try something new and around that time I was listening to Kanye’s “Yeezus” album and the ASAP Mob “lords never worry” tape almost all day everyday , and was like damn - what if I started doing this shit . Dropped a couple freestyles on my tumblr , and my followers on there fucked with it heavy. So that made me keep goin . Didn’t take anything serious til 2015 tho . Reason why I dropped outta art school though was because my anxious was terrible and the school didn’t take it serious and weren’t trying to help me or anything , but talk down on me instead haha .
what made you decide to take it serious in 2015? Also, have you always dealt with anxiety? It's definitely something I know a lot of people our age are suffering from.
In fall 2015 I had dropped a tape called “Horchata&Hennessy” and that shit popped out immediately . Fans still talk about that tape to this day . The response was so crazy and so positive, I was like damn I could really do something with this. Started playing more shows, dropping more music, just doing more things. Everything you see now, it all started from that . With the anxiety tho, I’ve always dealt with it and still am dealing with it. When it gets really bad I just shut down. I keep a whole lotta things inside, I don’t like asking for help especially with my emotions. It’s not healthy at all tho, and hopefully soon I can find a good therapist or something. I smoke weed every single day though, and that helps a whole lot
You must have been really pleased to see your talent and hard work materialize. On the subject of anxiety - I'm glad weed is able to help - what was your next move? How did it feel?
It felt really good, my next move was a short little tour down the west coast . That’s when I linked up with Slug Christ (awful records) and made a couple tracks with him. That boosted up the eyes that were on me even more. Stayed in LA for a couple weeks that summer and just went crazy. Did some videos out there, recorded mad music, etc.
Do you plan on moving to LA or NYC or are you enjoying your area? What are your plans for the rest of 2018? What is your relationship with your family like? are your guys close and have they supported your music career?
Gonna be living in LA for a little bit , I love NY though so one day I want to get somethin out there in the city . My mom supports my career to the fullest. I’m an only child so me and my mom were/are really close. I can’t stay in Seattle, there’s nothing left for me . I’ve outgrown it
Were you close with your father? And can you tell me about your recent signing to Alamo records - how did that process begin?
No comment - As far as the Alamo situation , it all kind of just fell into place on its own . Kolby who is now my manager/a&r hit me on Instagram awhile back, then in winter2017 he had me pull up to the studio with him and Comethazine. Since then we clicked, linked with him again when I was in NY. Next thing you know I’m back home signing papers for an Alamo deal .
How has it been being signed to a label compared to when you were independent? Who are some of the artists you want to work with on the label? Also, do you mix all your own songs and how did the songs "red mansion" and "Stubbs" come about? Were they both freestyle or did you write them?
For the most part it’s been good, everything coming together slowly . The big takeover coming soon though . Only other artists I want to work with that I haven’t already are Lil Wop and Asian Doll honestly . I feel like my swag so different from theirs , that the collabs would be fire . Before I signed, I used to record and mix all my music at home . But since then, my engineers that I work with be all over that . I still like to sit down w my engineer tho and tell/show em exactly how I want my shit to sound though so that they know the formula . But end of the day I trust my engineers, they all fire
Stunna was the last song that I actually wrote . Red Mansion was a freestyle and everything since then has freestyled. I don’t write shit !
So are you into sports - skating or basketball? Also, I just noticed you've had a few vids on jumper recently - can you speak on that and your relationship with the Adam/no jumper?
Also who edits your videos? They are very professional, reminds me of lonewolf’s style.
Sports sports sports - I used to play basketball a lil bit , played soccer a lil , and I used to skate too. I don’t do any of that shit anymore though . As far as Adam22 goes, I’ve only met the man once . He good people though . My mans Noah Samsen edits/directs my videos . Love that kid . He’s the chosen fosho ! Honestly I’m able to vibe out more in a studio than at the house . I just hop in the booth with all the lights off and go krazy !
So are you spiritual or religious at all?
I’m very very very spiritual but that’s all I’ll really say about it.